Friday, July 1, 2016

Progress on My Work In Progress

Just got my space opera manuscript back from the proofer/copy editor today. Looks great! She found lots of stuff that I missed, but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Huzzah!

"Untitled spaceship" concept art by Viktor Titov. (I'd love to have something like this for my cover art!)

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Mini Blog Tour: "Dead Man Lying" by Scott Bury
Dead Man Lying

A Lei Crime Kindle World Mystery 
by Scott Bury

She knows when you’re lying …FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm is back on Maui to catch a killer.

With lush rain forests, black sand beaches, and a laid-back lifestyle, Maui offers the perfect retirement location for once-famous country singer Steven Sangster … until he ends up dead.

As the killer, or killers, strike again and again, Detective Lei Texeira and FBI Special Agent Vanessa Storm must untangle the lies spun by the singer’s associates, friends, family — and the singer himself before the music dies. 

UPDATE: The Amazon link to Dead Man Lying is now LIVE!

An Excerpt:  

Even though it was only a mile to the village of Hana, Lei took more than ten minutes to drive there in the rain. The wind was strong enough to shake her truck, and when they finally parked at the Travaasa Hotel, the biggest in town, they both hesitated before running through the downpour into the open concept lobby. By the time they reached the desk, they were both drenched.

A half-hour later, checked in, showered and dried, they sat in the hotel’s restaurant. Vanessa had a glass of wine in front of her, Lei a pint of beer. They were off the clock, waiting for their meals, but they couldn’t help talking shop.

“So what did you get out of the interviews?” Lei asked just as a thin blond girl with colorful tattoos down her arms put their plates in front of them. Vanessa waited until she was out of earshot to answer.

“Mostly that everyone is lying,” she said. “Everyone I spoke to is hiding something.”

“How do you know?”

“I can always tell.”

“Like Daredevil?”

“The superhero? No. Everyone gives off little signals when they lie. It’s caused by stress.”

“Like looking away or covering their mouth?”

“Those are two. But there are other common signals, too.”

“But couldn’t that just mean the person is feeling stressed? In a case like this, there are lots of reasons to feel stressed.”

“It’s not a perfect system, but it’s usually pretty reliable.”

“So, how did you develop the ability, if you’re not Daredevil?”

“I studied it in university, and kept up my studies since. I have a Bachelor’s degree in clinical psychology from the University of Vermont, Burlington and a Master’s from Columbia.”

“Wow. Well, I can’t argue with that. But I got the same feeling as you — everybody on this estate has something to hide. The widow, the current Mrs. Sangster, seemed to be more angry at his death than sad about it.”

“She let out a lot of grief when I was alone with her,” said Vanessa. “Maybe she’s more angry at the family than at her husband. Her late husband.” She took a bite of her fish. I love Hawaii, she thought. “It’s too bad we had to stop that argument. Some interesting facts came out.”

“I thought so, too. Like Kathryn calling Isabel a tramp. Do you think she really was sleeping with Steven Sangster?”

Vanessa nodded. “Without a doubt. She admitted to me that she was in love with him, had been since she was a teenager.”

“That figures. That’s why she came out here from the mainland — to work with her childhood hero and heart-throb. Sangster was really handsome when he was young.”

“I remember,” Vanessa smiled and sipped her wine. She thought of the one time she had seen Sangster play, in a club in New York City, part of a comeback tour — and a real come-down for a star who once packed the country’s biggest stadiums. He was still handsome, then, close to fifty years old, but still with those rugged features, thick dark hair and beard streaked with grey, and those amazing blue eyes that seemed to pierce the heart of every woman in that audience.

“I remember, too. Too bad his son didn’t seem to inherit any of his looks,” Lei said.

“What do you think of that shot at the heiau? Was someone shooting at us or at Simon?”

Vanessa heard Lei’s phone chime, and she pulled it from a pocket in her jacket. She looked at the screen and said, “The crime scene investigators haven’t found anything in the way of a discharged or missing shotgun. They checked all the guns in Sangster’s collection, especially the shotguns,” Lei said. “Either none of them had been fired, or if it was, it was cleaned really well and then coated in a fine layer of dust.”

“So that means the weapon that shot at us is not one of the collection. Of course, the shooter probably wouldn’t have had time to return the gun to the collection before we got back to the house.”

About the Author 
Scott Bury just cannot stay in one genre.

After a three-decade career in journalism, his first published fiction was a children’s story, followed by an occult spy thriller. The Bones of the Earth, his first novel, crossed the boundaries between historical fiction and magic realism. He has also published spy thrillers and two police procedurals set in Hawaii.

You can find all of Scott’s books and other writings at his website, The Written Word.
Read his blog, Written Words 
Find him on Facebook at Scott Bury Author
Or follow him on Twitter @ScottTheWriter.

UPDATE: The Amazon link to Dead Man Lying is now LIVE!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Book Review: Valley of Monsters (Island of Fog, Book 7)

A well-executed continuation of Keith Robinson's excellent "Island of Fog" series, this book deals, primarily, with Hal's struggle against the wolf within and the gang's search for a set of long-lost shapeshifter twins. Although much information is given in "Valley of Monsters," the author keeps the story moving at a brisk and entertaining pace so the reader never feels bogged down with backstory. If you, like me, have enjoyed all of the "Island of Fog" books up to this point, you can rest assured "Valley of Monsters" continues that fine tradition of excellence.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Limited Time Book Freebie Offer

If anyone here enjoys MG/YA fantasy adventure novels and would like a complimentary digital copy of any (or all) of my three books - in exchange for an honest review, - then let me know either through this website or by emailing me directly at

I've attached the link to my Amazon author page so you can read the descriptions and decide which one(s) interest you. The two picture books are unavailable (pre-digital) as is the multi-author anthology. Thanks!…/e/…/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Littlest Pet Shop: Two Peas in a Podcast

The second half of the final season of "Littlest Pet Shop" kicked off today with back-to-back episodes. My particular episode was called "Two Peas in a Podcast" and you can watch the entire dingety-dangety thing right here. Ooooh, those Biskits!!! Enjoy!

Littlest Pet Shop 415 - Two Peas in a Podcast by spazzdh

Monday, February 29, 2016

Littlest Pet Shop Promo - Season 4 Returns March 26th!

For those interested (and who isn't?), the second half of the final season starts on March 26th! Yay!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

Book Launch: "Under the Nazi Heel" by Scott Bury

I'm proud to join the blog tour for Scott Bury's new book, Under the Nazi Heel. The sequel to his successful Army of Worn Souls, the new book promises to be a true page-turner. Be sure to check out the excerpt at the bottom of this post...

Under the Nazi Heel

Walking Out of War, Book 2

For Ukrainians in 1942, the occupying Germans were not the only enemy.

Maurice Bury was drafted into the Red Army just in time to be thrown against the invading Germans in 1941. Captured and starved in a POW camp, he escaped and made his way home to western Ukraine, where the Nazi occupiers pursued a policy of starving the locals to make more “living space” for Germans.

To protect his family, Maurice joins the secret resistance. He soon finds the Germans are not the only enemy. Maurice and his men are up against Soviet spies, the Polish Home Army and enemies even closer to home.

Experience this seldom seen phase of World War 2 through the eyes of a man who fought and survived Under the Nazi Heel.

Find it on Amazon.



About the author

Scott Bury just cannot stay in one genre.

After a three-decade career in journalism, his first published fiction was a children’s story, followed by an occult spy thriller. The Bones of the Earth, his first novel, crossed the boundaries between historical fiction and magic realism. He has also published spy thrillers and two police procedurals set in Hawaii.

Under the Nazi Heel is the sequel to Army of Worn Soles. They describe the real life experiences of Maurice Bury, a Canadian living in Ukraine during World War 2.

You can find all of Scott’s books and other writings at his website, The Written Word. 

Read his blog, Written Words 
Find him on Facebook at Scott Bury Author 
Visit his Amazon Author page 
Or follow him on Twitter @ScottTheWriter.

Under the Nazi Heel

Excerpt 1: From Prologue – Attack on the Train

Down the train, doors opened in every passenger car and soldiers and officers climbed out. Men asked “What happened? Why did the train derail? What happened to the engineer?” Officers asked “Any injuries? No? Weapons ready?” Soldiers formed a defensive line, weapons pointed into the forest or toward the lake, but they had trouble holding their rifles and machine guns over the top of the snow.

At the engine, the first two soldiers to come out of the train began to climb the ladder to the engineer’s compartment. The first soldier knocked on the door.

He was answered by a rifle shot from the forest. He arched his back and fell into the snow, knocking the man below him down.

More rifle shots came from the forest, hitting the officers first, then the soldiers with submachine guns. The Germans returned fire blindly. They could not see their attackers and their bullets went uselessly into the trees.

Fire came at the Germans from all sides. Some of the men in the snow tried to climb back into the train but they were cut down, shot in the back. The moonlight turned the blood black on the snow. 
A burning torch flew out of the forest, turning end over end to land on top of the first passenger car. Made of steel, it did not burn. But more torches flew, aimed toward the open doors. Most bounced off the sides of the cars and fell into the snow, snuffed.

Then an explosion blew off the rear of the last car and the Germans knew their attackers had grenades. They tried to hide between the cars or under the snow, but one by one they fell. More explosions came from under the train, and then someone managed to pitch a grenade into one of the doors. Smoke followed the muffled bang. Within a minute the men outside could see flames, and they knew they were dead.

One soldier fired his submachine gun in controlled bursts from a hiding spot between two of the cars, but bullets found him. Before his body hit the snow, a comrade took the gun from him and fired a continuous volley into the woods until he was hit three times from different directions.

Beside him, the junior officer who had tried to warm his hands fell with a bullet in his upper thigh. Blood gushing into his long coat, he raised his pistol to his head and blew his brains out before the partisans could take him.

The whole train was ablaze by then. Soldiers jumped out through windows and doors to be killed by more bullets. Within minutes, it was over. All the men outside the train lay dead in the snow, while those in the train screamed as they burned.

Under the trees, men in black uniforms watched carefully. One man shot a German body, just to be sure he was dead, and then the insurgents stood up. In twos and threes, they got into sleighs hidden in the woods, slapped the reins and returned along the paths they had made when they had arrived, hours earlier.

The only sound was the muffled steps of their horses in the snow and the soft roar of the fire, and soon only the fire was left.

The Ukrainian Insurgent Army had begun operations against the occupying Germans.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Tenacity Pie: A Guest Post by Danika Dinsmore

I'm  pleased to share a guest post from author Danika Dinsmore, author of the Faerie Tales from the White Forest series. The fourth book Narine of Noe was published in December, 2015. Danika talks about the importance of tenacity in an author's life. I agree with her. I would say tenacity is almost as important as writing books that people want to read. ;)

Take it away Danika...

on becoming a more successful (and happier) writer

I used to teach at Vancouver Film School, and I always opened the first day of my class with a talk about the writing life. Learning to write is one thing. Learning to exist and make a living in the world of writing (or filmmaking) is another. I'd show my students the following pie chart on the board, and only partially tongue-in-cheek:

Have you ever wondered why certain books, movies, plays, songs, etc are so successful? First off, unless you are the writer of the next Game of Thrones book or have a great established fan base, there really is no predicting the outcome of any artistic project. But secondly, as John Gardner tells us in his book The Art of Fiction, most of what we do anyway is generally mediocre.

Most grown-up behavior, when you come right down to it, is decidedly second-class. People don’t drive their cars as well, or wash their ears as well, or eat as well, or even play the harmonica as well as they would if they had sense. This is not to say people are terrible and should be replaced by machines; people are excellent and admirable creatures; efficiency isn’t everything. But for the serious young writer who wants to get published, it is encouraging that most of the professional writers out there are pushovers.
            ~John Gardner, The Art of Fiction

I've seen extremely brilliant and talented people never realize their dreams. At the same time, I've seen decidedly mediocre writers find fame and fortune, or at least a decent publishing contract. So, what gives? Determination, that’s what.

I love the word tenacity (the quality of being very determined) and I love tenacious people. Tenacity goes a very long way. To put it another way: If you have not gotten the thing you want most in life, then you haven’t done what it takes to get the thing you want most in life. If what you want it to make a living as a writer (or actor, filmmaker, etc, etc, etc), and you are not, then you haven’t done what it takes to make a living as a writer.

If this statement sounds harsh to you, just think about it. Yes, I absolutely guarantee there will be major challenges, setbacks, disappointments, unsupportive people, rejections, time management issues, and self-doubt. But there’s always one more thing you can do to move forward.

I once met a man at a conference who said he really wanted an agent, but after fourteen rejections, he decided agents just “didn’t get him” so he gave up.  I was shocked. Gave up? Did he really want an agent? What if it would take 20 queries? 30 queries? 60 queries?

What if after 60 queries there were still no bites from agents? Maybe you need someone to edit your query letter? Maybe it will take 160 queries. Maybe the book actually needs another rewrite? Maybe you need to take a writing class before you attempt a rewrite? Maybe that book needs to be set aside and a new one needs to be written? Who knows?

I have no idea what path you will need to take, but I do know if you do anything long enough, if you are tenacious, things happen. So, if nothing else, think this: if I continue to write, I'm going to become a better writer. If I stay open and pay attention to feedback, I will learn and become a better writer. If I read, critique, review, workshop, write, write, and write, I will become a better writer.
If I go to places where writers gather, I will learn from them. If I acquire a few new marketing skills, I will be able to promote myself more effectively. If I become part of a community and give back to that community, I will have a support system.  If I join Toastmasters or take a speaking workshop, I will become a better public speaker.

But wait, you don’t want to promote yourself? Don’t want to speak at conferences? Don’t want to deal with social media? This is absolutely your choice. But if you truly want to make a living as a writer, you’ll probably need to try (and fail) at any number of things. That’s called doing what it takes. That’s tenacity.

(If you don’t really care about making a living as a writer – you just want to be able to write, then that’s terrific. Go for it! Feed your soul! And if you want to be an indie author, go for it! That takes a ton of determination to get it right.)

And as you’re working that day job, working your way toward the thing you want most in life in your spare time, I believe the key is to do a little bit every day. Small steps are still steps. And tenacious people never stop taking those steps.

Tenacity Tools:
1) Make time and commit to it (20 mins per day of writing is 20 more mins than none)*
2) Challenge yourself to keep putting yourself out there (if you are shy, when you go to a conference, give yourself a goal to meet X number of new people each day; sign up to be on a panel; send in a proposal to teach what you know)
3) Dare to be bad (no write = no book; no feedback = nothing learned)
4) Listen, learn, and apply what you learn (i.e. entertain the possibility that other books, authors, editors, agents can teach you something)
5) Once you have a saleable piece, start something new (writers who make a living writing have one thing in common: they write)
6) Focus and finish what you start (even when it gets sloggy and difficult, there is no way but through – see #3)
7) ENJOY the journey. All of it. Celebrate every small success. (i.e. have a good time)
And as Christine Comaford-Lynch, the “renegade entrepreneur” once said about rejections: Some will, some won’t, so what, someone’s waiting.

*While working another job, I once got up at 5:30 AM every morning in order to finish a book.

Danika Dinsmore is an award-winning author, performance artist, and educator. Over the past 25 years she has developed content for the page, stage, screen, and web. Danika currently works and plays in speculative fiction with an emphasis on juvenile & young adult literature. Author of children’s fantasy adventure series Faerie Tales from the White Forest, she often takes her interactive Imaginary Worlds Tour on the road, performing and teaching world-building & creative writing at schools, conferences, and festivals across North America.

She writes about the creative life and posts exercises on her blog: and hangs around Twitter @danika_dinsmore